In February, AP Wealth Management and The Walton Award Committee had the privilege of honoring Jan & Phin Hitchcock as the recipients for the 2019 Walton Award.
Presented annually, this award recognizes a couple who has contributed outstanding service to our community in the spirit of George and Dorothy Walton. The Hitchcocks exemplify selflessness, hospitality, courage and devotion to the nation, to our community, and to the health of family in our culture.
It is a pleasure to recognize a couple who can be a shining example to others in our community. – Gene McManus
This year, the recipients, Jan & Phin, have decided to have the award funds donated to Fireside Ministries & Industries, Inc., a local, faith-based, non-profit organization that exists to restore people and places, and has an intentional mission to aid at-risk families in the neighborhood of Harrisburg in Augusta, Georgia. Through means of prevention and intervention, Fireside Ministries seeks to stabilize and strengthen the family, and as a result, stabilize and strengthen the community of Harrisburg and Augusta.
Jan and Phin are the very embodiment of community service, helping those in need throughout the CSRA without hesitation. Their service includes work with juvenile offenders, teens, adults in recovery, GED students, and improvement to developing neighborhoods and disadvantaged youth through academic and music education.
Jan and Phin’s commitment to the restoration of people and places in our city stem from their deep faith in God, rooted in their testimony of the faithfulness of God.
The beginning of their path started when Phin worked with Georgia Pacific in the Southern Division Plywood Group as a Quality/Process Control Manager from 1975 – 1981. In 1981, Phin chose to leave that profession and he and Jan started Fireside Garden Center and Café on Boy Scout Rd.
Three years later, after consulting with family and friends about beginning a ministry in Augusta, they closed the Fireside Garden Center on Boy Scout Rd. and began Fireside Ministries – a local, faith-based, non-profit organization that exists to restore people and places, and has an intentional mission to aid at-risk families in the neighborhood of Harrisburg in Augusta, Georgia. Through means of prevention and intervention, Fireside Ministries seeks to stabilize and strengthen the family, and as a result, stabilize and strengthen the community of Harrisburg and Augusta as a whole.
In 1999, Linda Tucciarone approached the Hitchcocks to help her begin an inner-city Christian School, which became Heritage Academy, which began with 5 kindergarten students in the fall of 2001 ending the year with 10. The Hitchcocks assisted with the school and taught our Fireside GED adult students in the same building.
In 2010, the Hitchcocks were part of the collaboration, “Turn Back the Block for Harrisburg”. Their goal was to bring Harrisburg back to a viable neighborhood with restoration of people and places, “one house at a time.”
Later, in 2015 the entire upstairs of Heritage Academy was completed. Fireside had begun to collaborate with 4 other ministries in Harrisburg: Mercy Ministries, Icebox Ministries, Augusta Locally Grown and Turn Back The Block (of which Phin is a board member). The Hitchcock’s involvement and time is increasingly in Harrisburg, a vital community where much is happening and this will escalate dramatically in the coming years.
Phin currently serves as Executive Director of Fireside Ministries and Industries. In this role, he is committed to restoring people and places, aiding at-risk men, families and neighborhoods. He is often called upon to marshal volunteers in fixing up rundown properties in marginalized neighborhoods such as Old Towne and Harrisburg. He and his wife have just moved into a home they renovated on the 100 block of Broad Street. Phin also serves on the Board of Directors of Turn Back the Block, whose mission is to revitalize Harrisburg through property improvement and home ownership to the disenfranchised.
Phin and Jan are founding Board members of Heritage Academy. Their vision, passion and hard work have made this nationally known school what it is today. In 2000, they organized 150 volunteers from Chicago that did the initial demolition of the historic Houghton school. Their efforts led to the coordination of several large churches in the area that fed, housed and entertained the volunteers. these same skills are used to provide violin instruction for for more than 60 children at Heritage Academy.
Jan now serves as Principal at Heritage. Prior to this role, she served alongside of her husband in Fireside Ministries. She was the GED instructor and assisted in the construction of gardens at public housing neighborhoods in Augusta. Through the years, Jan has led mentor groups with teenage girls. Now young mothers, they consider Jan to have been a major influence for good in their lives.
The Hitchcocks have also held weekly bible studies at the Youth Detention Center, and hosted an annual Christmas dinner that served more than 150 boys at the YDC, requiring 60 volunteers to cook, serve and distribute a gift to each boy.
Phin and Jan have assisted many local organizations in the recruitment and leading of volunteers to improve impoverished neighborhoods, including Hope For Augusta, First Presbyterian Church, Trinity on the Hill UMC. They are currently assisting Turner Simkins with a project in Graniteville in creating a destination for tourism and jobs at Horse Creek. This is an area blighted by a chemical spill in 2005. This project will lead to new economic activity in an area greatly in need of it.
Because of the exemplary service and impact of the Hitchcocks, we are pleased to have the opportunity to thank and honor them for everything they have and are continuing to do to help our community.
Please join us in expressing our gratitude to Jan & Phin Hitchcock!
The George & Dorothy Walton Award Committee, and Your AP Wealth Team,
Additional Information and News
- Inner-city efforts earn former nursery owners Walton Award
- Winners announced for 2019 Walton Awards honoring community service to CSRA
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